Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) continue to embrace social media.
According to the 2012 Small and Medium Social Business Study conducted by the SMB Group, social media use over the past year has increased from 44 percent to 53 percent among small businesses –and from 52 percent to 63 percent among medium businesses.
More than one-third of those polled (35 percent) said they’re using social media to replace another marketing channel, such as newspapers, magazines, or email marketing.
The study also found that:
• Most SMBs feel social media will help fulfill their sales and marketing goals. Only a small percentage are using social media for non-sales and marketing functions, such as human resources, customer service and product development.
• SMBs say their top social media challenges include: lack of time, inability to measure value, difficulty integrating social media with other business activates and lack of budget.
• While SMB adoption of social media has been on the rise over the past year, median spending for both small and medium companies remained the same as in 2011.
• Interestingly, SMB social media adoption varies most by industry and by age of decision-maker –and least by company size or primary customer type.
The study also identified a problem that unfortunately, is becoming all too common:
Many SMBs are using social platforms without a marketing plan or clear goal in mind.
In an earlier study, the SMB Group found that when SMBs take a structured, strategic approach–and implement actionable metrics–they’re more satisfied with the results of their social media efforts than those engaging in an ad hoc manner.
Likewise, SMBs that use social media as part of a planned corporate approach are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to anticipate revenue growth than ad hoc users.